Exploring community perceptions of illegal dumping in Fisantekraal using participatory action research
Keywords:illegal dumping, perceptions, participatory action research, engagement, community
We present the results from two interactive methodologies (interview and focus groups) that were used as part of a participatory action research (PAR) project to identify the reasons for and solutions to illegal dumping in Fisantekraal, Cape Town, South Africa. Worldwide, PAR has been applied in the context of marginalised groups and in different fields to stimulate dialogue amongst research participants, with the ultimate goal of promoting social change. The opinions expressed by the research participants (community members, NGOs, municipal officials, academics) demonstrate that the voices of the community matter and illustrate the transformative potential of the PAR methodology to change the status of stakeholder engagement in decision making regarding a pressing concern such as illegal dumping in community. The research discussed here led to some planning of initiatives and to planned change because the conversations/interviews/focus groups at least allowed people to come together to discuss possibilities. It helped the community and other stakeholders to come together and share their views of the problem and to plan together for what could work to curb illegal dumping. Community projects were subsequently initiated, and their impact will be evaluated in future research.
- This study shows the potential of the PAR process to facilitate conversations about a particular issue between various stakeholders in a community where effective communication is challenging. The inclusivity of PAR allows for the voices of marginalised communities to be heard and allows people to take ownership of an issue in their community, such as illegal dumping.
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Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa
National Research Foundation
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
Grant numbers CSIR/IU/WRIU/2018/019